Back to school in a brand-new eco-friendly classroom
The first classrooms built with 100% recycled plastic from Côte d’Ivoire
Since 14 September, school is back in session across Côte d’Ivoire. At the city of Man’s Domoraud public primary school, parents are lined up in front of the director’s office to enrol their children in kindergarten. Word has spread throughout the neighbourhood that three new classrooms are being built. Classrooms made of recycled plastic bricks.
Eager parents, eager students
“They told us that the classes would be ready within a week. My son is already enrolled in kindergarten. I can’t wait for him to start school,” says Eleonore, mother of four-year-old Ethan. Last year, her son was learning with about 60 other children in a wooden shack exposed to the weather and to stray animals. “It was really dangerous and uncomfortable for the children, but we had no choice. This kindergarten is the closest to our house,” says Eleonore.
The new classrooms reassure the parents. Learning conditions will be far better. This year, the school expects more than 100 preschool children, almost double than last year. “This is a significant advance in a region where most parents don’t really value early childhood education,” says Victorine, the director of the kindergarten.
Next to the kindergarten, UNICEF and its partner Conceptos Plásticos started building three classrooms for primary school children.
"Here, it is the pupils who ask their parents to enrol them in school. They want to be in these classrooms and nowhere else."
An innovation that makes the community proud
Parents are curious. “What are these bricks? Where do they come from?” They don’t hesitate to come to the construction site to ask questions.
“When the engineer in charge of the construction told us that these recycled plastic bricks were made in Côte d’Ivoire, I was proud,” said Alphone Deu, the father of a student. “So much plastic waste litters our streets and makes us sick. It makes me happy to learn that we can turn this waste into beautiful classrooms.”
The Domoraud public primary school, in downtown Man, is the first school in the country to house classrooms built from recycled plastic bricks that were entirely produced in Côte d’Ivoire, thanks to UNICEF Germany’s support. The bricks come straight from Conceptos Plásticos’ factory, based in the industrial zone of Youpougon, in Abidjan. The factory has been turning Ivorian plastic waste into plastic bricks that can now be used to build much-needed classrooms across the country.
Côte d’Ivoire has a huge need for classrooms. Together with its partners, UNICEF Côte d’Ivoire is working hard to make sure that every Ivorian child has a classroom and can realise its right to education.
For every child, the right to go to school and reach its full potential.